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Laura Thompson is a local Nutritional Therapist, Acupuncturist and creator of the Healthy Gut Plan, offering advice on a range of health issues
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men over 3,550 men are diagnosed here each year. Thankfully if caught in time the prognosis is very good.
The cause of prostate cancer is relatively unknown but the risk maybe increased by the following:
1. Increasing age – most common in men over the age of 50 yrs.
2. Family history – If your father or brother is diagnosed with prostate cancer you are two or three times more likely to get prostate cancer yourself.
3. Diet – A diet high in saturated fats and low fibre, may also increase your risk.
4. Race – African- American men are more at risk than other ethnic groups.
5. Genetics -Men who carry a faulty BRCA2 gene are at a higher risk.
So what symptoms should you be looking for ?
1. Difficulty emptying your bladder.
2. Frequency – going to the toilet more frequently than before.
3. Getting up more than twice in the night to urinate.
4. Incomplete emptying feeling that the bladder is still full.
5. Blood in urine.
Lesser known symptoms:
Lower back pain or pain in the upper thighs or hips.
It is crucial that if you experience any of the above symptoms that you consult your doctor.
A simple blood test can rule out Prostate cancer and should be done on a yearly basis by every man over the age of forty.
This test is painless and checks the PSA levels (prostate specific antigen). If your PSA levels are higher than normal this can sometimes be a sign of prostate cancer or a sign of a less serious condition.
The prostate gland does get bigger with age and this can cause problems passing urine but doesn’t mean it is cancerous. However always have it checked!
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So what can you do to help prevent prostate cancer?
1. Maintain a healthy weight, obesity increases your risk of all diseases and prostate cancer is no different.
2. Stay active , aim for at least 30 minutes physical activity everyday.
3. Eat a healthy diet which includes a wide variety of Vegetables and fruits. Lean protein like oily fish, full of omega 3 which reduces inflammation. Pumpkin seeds are amazing for protecting the prostate gland as they are high in zinc which is crucial for men. Tomatoes contain Lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant with many health benefits. One study saw lycopene lower the PSA connected to prostate cancer and inflammation. You can get this in supplement form or just increase your intake of tomatoes.
4. Saw Palmetto is a fantastic herb which may help to reduce an inflamed prostate. Always check with your Doctor if you are taking prescribed medication.
Finally remember that “prevention is always better than cure!” Do not bury your head in the sand; have regular check ups.